Tips on Creating Your Google Analytics Guest List

I love hosting parties. You get to use the good dishes, that fun party bowl you only use for guacamole, and it’s an excuse to clean my floors. I always end up with a huge guest list but need to be realistic and make cuts because my house can’t hold 150 people. Also, who can afford that many avocados?

What on Earth does this have to do with Google Analytics? Think of website traffic like a party guest list. You want to have an open door, but you can’t let the riff-raff inside. They would eat all the guacamole. In the world of website traffic, you need to find a way to exclude the riff-raff traffic, like spam from other websites, bots, and traffic from within your company.

Google Analytics gives you seemingly endless amounts of data about your users at your fingertips. But how much of that data is real, qualified traffic searching for your product or service and how much of it is bots or traffic from within your company? Filtering out the bad traffic is essential for getting accurate, useful data from your Google Analytics account.

So, what traffic do you want to cut from your Google Analytics guest list?

Sorry Internal Traffic, You’re Not Invited
The first traffic you don’t want included is traffic from within your company. This can drastically inflate just about every number in Google Analytics. Think about it, if Jerry from your marketing department is working on updating website content, he might be spending hours on your website, viewing every page for minutes at a time, for two weeks. Your numbers will be all out of whack. To combat this, make sure there is a filter created to exclude your office IP addresses so Jerry’s hard work isn’t recorded in Analytics.

But there is a curveball, what about people working remotely? More and more people are working from home, cafes, or while on vacation. If you have a lot of employees working from home, you can ask for their IP addresses and exclude them. Do you have people working across the country? You may be able to create a segment to exclude traffic from their city. While you don’t want to exclude a large area, excluding traffic from a small town won’t have a drastic impact on your numbers.

Your Friends In Another Country Probably Can’t Make It Anyway
Unless you sell products or services internationally, you can exclude traffic from out of the country. It’s unlikely the 80 sessions from Russia are qualified leads, especially if their session duration is 00:00:00. You can create a segment to include only traffic from your country or state to give you more accurate numbers, like number of sessions and session duration.

This Is a Humans-Only Party
Bots are constantly crawling the web and your website, and bots certainly aren’t going help your numbers in Google Analytics. But how do you find them? They’re sneaky, but with a little digging, you can find them and kick them out.

The first place to look for bots is in your referral traffic. Look for a low session duration, probably 00:00:00, and traffic from sites that aren’t going to bring you qualified traffic, like adult-themed sites. The second place you can look is in the Network Domain report. You may notice sources in here that bring a lot of sessions with a session duration of 00:00:00. With either group, you can visit the website to check its credibility. If you decide this isn’t traffic you want, create a segment to kick them out! It’s ok to be a bit of a snob when cleaning up your Google Analytics traffic. If it’s not traffic that is helping your business, don’t let it mess with your numbers. Your Google Analytics guest list isn’t a one-and-done project. It needs regular maintenance to keep out unwanted riff-raff that keeps eating your guacamole, and ruining the party.

Need help making a guest list of your own? Contact us today!